Formula One 99 is the latest reiteration of Psygnosis' long-running Formula One series, and it comes packed with an entirely new engine, features, tracks, and up-to-date rosters that make it the most advanced Formula One game yet.
As before, Formula One 99 is an officially licensed product of the 1999 Formula One World Championship series, and it carries with it all of the official teams, drivers, and tracks. The game, in fact, features quite impressive re-creations of all 16 of the 1999 Grand Prix circuit tracks, including the latest addition - the Sepang-F1- Circuit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. To further the game's authenticity, Psygnosis has included settings for all of the rules and regulations, including stop-go penalties, full-flag system, and jump starts.
The game has a ton of options that let you tweak and change the performance of your car to suit the type of track you're going to race on. Changing and tweaking the cars is incredibly important; having the right setup could easily mean the difference between first and second place. Changing your car's suspension and front- and rear-wing parameters especially change how the vehicle handles.
The control is extremely tight. It takes awhile to get used to how your vehicle handles, but once you do and you start experimenting with the car's settings, the game gets quite fun. The overall physics is a little more real this year; the cars don't slide as much on dry tracks. Keeping the proper racing line and waiting to make a move is a whole lot easier now in Formula One 99, since the cars have been equipped with working rearview wing mirrors. This addition alone makes playing the game a lot more fun, since you no longer have to keep toggling back and forth between the rear- and front-view selection.
Graphically, Formula One 99 is quite impressive. The game features a brand-new engine that gives the game a slightly sharper look than last year's title and, more importantly, eliminates just about all of the glitches, pop-up, and slowdown. Even when playing a two-player split-screen race, the game keeps up a consistent frame rate. The cars and tracks are quite detailed, and the game moves at a realistical fast pace. All this is matched by improved engine sounds that are in fact actual recordings of real F1 racers. In addition, this year's game has commentary by Murray Walker and Martin Brundle, who call the action on the track as it happens. The commentary, while a little dry and repetitive, does add to the overall atmosphere of the game.
Overall, Formula One 99 is a great F1 racing simulation that is sure to wow fans of the sport with its up-to-date drivers and tracks. But more importantly, the game has great control and enough settings to keep any longtime fan of the Formula One series glued to the TV for quite some time.